Red Deer North MLA Kim Schreiner presented a Community Initiatives Program grant cheque to Red Deer’s 2019 Canada Winter Games committee on Thursday. Committee board chair Lyn Radford accepted the cheque on committee’s behalf. (Photo by Susan Zielinski/Advocate staff)

Winter Games organizers get funding for sports equipment

Community clubs to benefit after the games

Red Deer’s 2019 Canada Winter Games committee received a $48,000 Community Initiatives Program grant cheque from Alberta Culture & Tourism on Thursday.

The grant will be matched by the games committee and money will go towards purchasing gymnastic and judo equipment for the games.

Committee chair Lyn Radford said likely more money will be needed to upgrade equipment for those sports. Equipment required is still being determined.

After the games the equipment will be given to community clubs for a nominal fee, if any, she said.

“Sometimes what we find is the club equipment isn’t up to standards for the competition and this will help us bring some new equipment into the community,” Radford said.

Barb Bilsborrow, head coach with Exelta Gymnastics Club based at Collicutt Centre, said her club has a list of equipment it could use like new mats, balance beam, parallel bars, and more.

“We’re pretty excited. We’ve never had the opportunity before to get some equipment of that magnitude all at once,” Bilsborrow said.

She said their equipment is getting old and upgrading equipment is always last on the list.

“Until something breaks, and then it’s a scramble.”

She said the club has about 75 competitive athletes and has had lots compete in previous Canada Games.

“We will probably have some athletes try out for the games, especially in our trampoline and tumbling program. Whether they make it or not is hard to say. It’s very hard to make the team, but we’re always hoping.”

The winter games will run from Feb. 15 to March 3, 2019 and bring 3,600 athletes to the city to compete in 19 sports, along with about 25,000 visitors.

Radford said work has just begun on 40 different organizational components for the games, like food, transportation, and venues, to name a few. Each component will be further subdivided. But everyone has to work together.

“A decision that’s being made in transportation might affect a decision for competition. There’s also that integration that we have to work on. A lot of moving parts.”

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